Do you really want to be seen by the world?
Welcome to Author Entrepreneur Fridays, where we focus on how to create a successful and sustainable author career from the business and strategic perspectives. This week I have another guest post from Matthew Ashdown, one of my Author Entrepreneur Magazine authors. You can check out the current issue here.
An author can stamp his feet and rant that nobody is buying his book, and continue to struggle to get noticed. Or he can get clear on whether the action he is taking is really going to allow him to achieve the reach that he desires.
I am all about empowering people on their journey, and something that I see over and over again is that unconsciously people do not want to be seen. They believe it is not safe for them to be seen, because if they are seen they will be judged, they will upset others through their work, or they might say the wrong things on an interview. With this subconscious fear playing out underneath the surface, it is no surprise that many authors do not get the exposure they want. And of course, if these fears are present in you as you write the book, then you may find yourself writing a book that deserves to be hidden from the world.
If, subconsciously, we do not want to be seen, we will do things that guarantee that we will never be seen. We will invest our time in advertising and marketing that won’t work, while at some level we will think we are investing our time and money wisely. We will sabotage opportunities for exposure for our books, all because we are not truly being honest about our fear.
Now your goal may not be the international stage, but in my early days of fearing being seen, I could not even watch videos of myself, I was judging myself too harshly. Now I can sit comfortably and watch myself speaking on TV or video interviews, and as a result I am able to improve upon my skills.
This is why it is always important to be honest about our fears, at the very least to voice them to ourselves, so that we don’t block our awesomeness and highest potential. It will be worth having a little conversation with you when nobody is looking. The conversation could go a little something like this.
What would be the down side of you actually being noticed in the world?
Many authors scoff at this, “Of course I want to be seen”, they say. But through my years of coaching I have learned that it is not what they say out loud that matters, but what they tell me by their body language, and the subconscious beliefs. Maybe you wrote a book that reveals a deeply concealed government secret. That could limit how much exposure you might want to get, for fear of being shut down by someone. I am sure the author of the recent Bin Laden mission book is going through a rough process. Or it may be a more personal fear. Maybe there is something that happened in your past that you don’t want people to find out about. Whatever it is, you need to make yourself aware of this. It is ok to have fears, it is not ok to let them run the show. Even if you never admit to them to anyone else (which isn’t that helpful because someone who has been where you are going can alleviate many of your fears through new awareness), you need to admit them to yourself.
What do you need to do to change your inner dialogue?
If there is something that you are afraid might come out if you are seen in the public eye, then you need to release your own judgments of yourself and/or sort that issue out now. If you still judge yourself for it, and it does get brought up, it could be painful. If there is something in your personal life that you have not taken responsibility for, or looked more closely in to, I recommend that you do that. If we haven’t found peace with our own shadow (the part of us we want to hide from the world out of shame or guilt), it is more likely to come out in messy ways. Luckily authors don’t usually have the same trouble that other celebs have with being in the public eye as much, but the inner work is still important.
What action can you take that will improve your chances of being seen?
This is a question that will guide you to finding solutions that you actually want. If you do not ask this question, and allow your unconscious fears to guide the way, you will unintentionally end up pursuing avenues that keep you hidden from the world. Been there, done that, and it cost me a lot of time and money (but I forgave myself). By asking this question you will begin to find yourself being drawn to different answers and solutions that you may not have noticed before. Or something that you have known about for a while will become an obvious choice; you just have to make sure that you do not avoid it out of fear. It could be publishing a youtube video or blog, or saying yes to that interview that you are afraid of screwing up. We choose the safer paths so often, even if they only lead to greater frustrations. Feel the fear and do it any way!
How can you focus your imagination in a more productive way?
Begin to talk yourself out of your fears. Your imagination is powerful, but when abused it will be used to focus upon all that can go wrong, and if the focus is kept there you can end up creating it. Your imagination can be a powerful ally, I mean look, it helped you (or is helping you) create your book. You can use that same imagination to imagine a more fun and thrilling ride, rather than a fearful one where we end up feeling paralyzed. What do you want your public life to look like? Imagine yourself as confident, funny, loving life, exuding integrity and consciously step into that role. Persuade yourself that you are that person and then persuade the world, not the other way around.
As always, remember that the vision you have is one that is within your reach, it will require you learning a few lessons about yourself along the way, and stepping into the greatest version of yourself. And if you don’t allow yourself to see your magnificence in the privacy of your own home, don’t be surprised when the world doesn’t notice either. Give yourself permission to be seen!
Matthew Ashdown is a personal empowerment coach, best known for his work as a GratiDude, speaking and coaching on the power of gratitude to transform business and life. He is also an avid writer, currently working on his first novel and lives in Victoria, BC. More information about Matthew and his services at www.MatthewAshdown.com.